Behenyl alcohol: fatty alcohols in skincare – how does behenyl alcohol have an effect on the pores and skin?

What is behenyl alcohol?

Behenyl alcohol is a fatty alcohol used in skin care and cosmetic products to soften the skin and improve the texture and consistency of the formulation. Its four main uses are as cloudy ingredientThickener, softening, and Emulsifier.

Behenyl alcohol, also known as docosanol, is saturated fatty alcohol with 22 carbons. Fatty alcohols are a group of ingredients that are often misunderstood, mainly because of their name. Although they have alcohol in their name, fatty alcohols actually help nourish and soften the skin and hair effectively.

Fatty alcohols have a straight chain, high molecular weight primary alcohol derived from natural fats and oils. Behenyl alcohol is obtained from plant sources such as corn, but it can also be produced synthetically.

Behenyl alcohol is primarily used in facial moisturizers and body lotions, but can also be found in deodorant, lipstick, foundation, and hair care products.

the breakdown

Behenyl alcohol

the good: Behenyl alcohol helps the skin retain moisture and improve the skin’s hydrated appearance. It also has many benefits to the texture and sensory feel of products.

not so good: There is nothing to keep track of here.

For whom is that? All skin types except those identified as having an allergy.

Synergetic ingredients: Works well with most ingredients

Keep an eye on: Although the name includes alcohol, behenyl alcohol is not a drying ingredient. This is because it is a fatty alcohol. Watch out for other fatty alcohols like cetearyl alcohol, stearyl alcohol, and cetyl alcohol.

Is Behenyl Alcohol Good For Your Skin?

In cosmetic and Skin care Formulations, behenyl alcohol acts as a cloud component, thickener, plasticizer and emulsifier.


The texture, look, and feel of a product can have a huge impact on how comfortable the product is to use. Elements such as opacity and thickness are an important part of the formulation process. For the most part, these elements are purely sensory. However, the thickness of a product can have little effect on how evenly important ingredients are distributed on the skin.

Behenyl alcohol can be added to clear or transparent cosmetic formulations as an opacifier and thickener in order to make them more resistant to visible light. This results in a creamy looking formulation. Think of your face moisturizer with this rich, lightweight texture and color.

The thickening property of behenyl alcohol enables the products to achieve a more desirable, spreadable texture. Hence, manufacturers will add behenyl alcohol to formulations for a thick, smooth, and creamy product.


Behenyl alcohol is called softening in cosmetic formulations for its ability to soften and soothe the skin.

After topical application, behenyl alcohol forms a protective layer on the skin that prevents it Moisture loss. This helps trap moisture in the skin and improve the skin’s hydrated appearance. In addition, behenyl alcohol does not leave a greasy feeling after application, as is the case with other plasticizers.

Similarly, behenyl alcohol acts as an emollient in hair care products, increasing the moisture content of the hair and improving manageability. Behenyl alcohol can also make hair conditioners slip, which will help you untangle your hair.


Another function of behenyl alcohol is as Emulsifier. Emulsifiers are required for products that contain both water and oil components.

This is because when mixing oil and water based ingredients, separation or splitting often occurs. This can change the texture and effectiveness of your product. To avoid this problem, emulsifiers are added. An emulsifier such as behenyl alcohol can be added to ensure that the two ingredient types stay mixed. This improves the consistency of a product, which allows the current products to be evenly distributed Skin care Services.

As an emulsifier, behenyl alcohol consists of a water-loving hydrophilic head and an oil-loving hydrophobic tail. The hydrophilic head is aimed at the water-based ingredients and the hydrophobic tail is aimed at the oil-based ingredients. Behenyl alcohol reduces surface tension by positioning itself at the oil / water or air / water interface, which has a stabilizing effect on the emulsion.

Is behenyl alcohol vegan?

Behenyl alcohol is a vegan ingredient. It is obtained from plant sources such as vegetable oils.

When looking for a vegan product, it is always best to check with the brand to make sure the rest of the ingredients in the formulation are vegan and that the brand is cruelty free.

Does behenyl alcohol irritate or dry out your skin?

Behenyl alcohol is often misunderstood because of its name. It is often combined with alcohol-based ingredients such as alcoholate or ethanol, which can dry out or irritate some skin types.

However, behenyl alcohol is actually a fatty alcohol that is a completely different class of ingredients. In fact, it is known that, unlike conventional alcohol in skin care, fatty alcohols are effective in nourishing and softening the skin and hair.

Is Behenyl Alcohol Safe?

The safety of behenyl alcohol has been determined by the Panel of Experts for the Review of Cosmetic Ingredients. The CIR expert panel evaluated the scientific data and concluded that Behenyl alcohol is safe for use in cosmetics and personal care products.

In 2005 the panel of experts examined the available new data on behenyl alcohol and the other fatty alcohols and confirmed the above conclusion.

The data for the five commonly used fatty alcohols included in the report showed no significant toxicity.

Cosmetic formulations containing them Fatty alcohols were not skin irritants or sensitizers.

What are the other uses of behenyl alcohol?

In addition to its use in the cosmetics industry, behenyl alcohol is available as a dietary supplement and as a pharmaceutical antiviral agent. In the OTC cold sore medication Abreva, Docosanol has been shown to reduce the duration of Cold sores caused by the herpes simplex virus.

What are the other commonly used fatty alcohols?

Cetearyl alcohol, Cetyl alcohol, Isostearyl alcohol, Myristyl alcohol and Stearyl alcohol are commonly used fatty acids in skin care

CIR, 1988. “5 Final report on the safety assessment of cetearyl alcohol, cetyl alcohol, isostearyl alcohol, myristyl alcohol and behenyl alcohol”, International Journal of Toxicology.

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